The Wayne Shorter way
By: Marke Andrews
For more than 40 years, saxophonist Wayne Shorter has written compositions that defy logic and break the rules: nine-bar forms, bridges that sound like verses, verses that sound like bridges, harmonic structures that make no sense until you hear him perform them.
Maybe this is what earned him a reputation as jazz music’s greatest living composer.
And maybe this is why other music groups, jazz and classical, approach him to write something that will challenge them in ways they haven’t been challenged before.
Most recently, the 36-piece Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, whose members caught a Shorter quartet performance at Lincoln Center, commissioned him to compose a piece for quartet and orchestra.
“Twelve of them came to the dressing room and we talked, and when they left they said, ‘When you write for us, make it hard. Show no mercy!’” says Shorter, speaking on the phone from his Hollywood Hills home. “They said they want to reach for things, to be challenged.”
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